Since internet use has boomed over the past two decades, identity theft has become more prevalent. Thieves are using this tool to steal personal data from unsuspecting people. Usually, their activity goes unnoticed until they’ve already used the information to transact on the victim’s behalf. But, there are things that can clue you in early. Here are a few signs that you should look out for.
Mysterious Legal Documents for Existing Properties
One of the most common things that felons will do when they’ve stolen someone’s identity is to meddle with their properties and mortgages. They’ll take out loans using the victim’s home as collateral. Generally, these go undetected until the real owners get a letter in the mail about overdue credit payments or foreclosure notices.
If you regularly check on the legal status of your property or you’ve signed up for a home title monitoring service, you may catch the early signs of this scheme. You’ll get notified if there are mysterious documents or court records that you or your lawyer have no recollection of filing. This can mean that someone has stolen your identity and has done transactions on your behalf.
Unfamiliar Items on Any Credit Card Billing Statements
When people steal personal info, they also gain access to other things such as credit card details. They’ll typically use this data to buy items without the owner’s consent. Most transactions are done online, as they don’t need a physical copy of the card to make a purchase.
You’ll know that something’s up when you check your credit statement. Be vigilant and always check for any entries of online purchases that you don’t recall making. To really find out the details about these charges, call your bank or service provider. They’ll help you confirm if they’re fraudulent transactions and clue you on possible identity theft.
More Expensive Utility Bills for a Second Home
Most of the time, people who’ve stolen someone’s identity won’t mess with the property the person is currently staying in. But, if the victim has others that they’re not using, the felons will try to gain access to them. They may attempt to pass it off as their own and sell them to unsuspecting individuals who think they’re participating in a legitimate transaction. They may also just trespass and squat on the land without the owner’s consent.
Some essential clues that this scenario is happening are the second home’s utility bills. If someone’s been illegally using a property, the owner will definitely get charged more than the usual amount for electricity and water.
Whether you’re alerted by a home title lock service about strange property documents or get charged for things you didn’t buy, investigate the matter right away, it’ll be easier to reverse any fraudulent transactions.